Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: October 2015

September 29, 2015
By Diane Chiasson

Easy marketing ideas - In tough times, the last thing you want to do is cut your marketing budget. Here are easy-to-do ideas to help your bakery.

Use sampling events to highlight new bakery menu items and create excitement. Photo: Fotolia

During difficult times, businesses should not be decreasing their marketing budgets, but increasing it!

Take this opportunity to get ahead of your competitors with simple, inexpensive ideas that are easy to implement.

1. Make use of your database
Send information like an e-newsletter or a printed newsletter with photos of yourself and your staff. You can also send a thank-you card; a personalized, hand-signed customer appreciation letter to your best customers; or a postcard at least every 21 days to contacts in your database.

If you haven’t collected any names, start today. Leave a guest book or a fish bowl for dropping business cards next to your cash register, and encourage customers to leave their information. You can also collect email addresses via your own website. Make sure you ask permission to add them to your mailing list.


2. Be true to your plan
Create a marketing plan and include a monthly calendar of activities with upcoming events such as Oktoberfest, Halloween and Christmas. Include your monthly budget and deadline for these promotions as well as who is responsible. Remember that having an ultimate plan is the key to any successful campaign.

3. Invite customers to come in
Send a postcard or an invitation to announce special events and promotions such as an appreciation night, baker’s demo or cooking classes. Create a buzz and excitement in your community, and give customers something to look forward to. Involve your vendors in sharing your advertising and promotional expenses. They could provide you with co-op dollars to help defray the cost of mailings, food samples and giveaways.

4. Use your car to advertise
Have your bakery name and logo professionally painted on the side of your car, so that when you drive around town, you are acting as a moving billboard to advertise your establishment.

5. Call everyone you know
Make a personal phone call to invite your friends, family, regular customers, and/or old business acquaintances to see how they are doing and remind them of upcoming specials and promotions. Telephone calls are a great way to let your customers know they are valued and also a great reminder of your establishment.

6. Show your face in town
Build your business by networking and attending your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or local associations’ meetings to meet potential customers. Check online to see what conventions are coming to your area.

7. Barter with your suppliers
Exchange services with your suppliers. For example, you can barter some of your printing costs in exchange for a few free cakes and pies.

8. Get other businesses involved
Do cross-promotions and co-op advertising with non-competitive businesses. For example, work with your local movie theatre for a “Divine Desserts and a Movie” promotion. You could also sponsor a sports team from the local high school or an adult league. Print your name and logo on their team shirts.

9. Free press
Take advantage of your local paper by sending the editor press releases and brochures, or write an article to gain greater exposure. Invite a local radio or TV host in for a complimentary “dessert extravaganza” and have them talk about your bakery on their show.

10. Motivate your staff
Train your staff on suggestive selling and upselling – from dessert for one to dessert for two. Always reward your staff members by organizing special celebrations for them and inviting your local community and regular customers as well. You should always recognize a job well done.
11. Give out free samples
Use sampling events to highlight new bakery menu items and create excitement.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. She is recognized as an industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit

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